WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) -- A tough few months began Monday for Robins Air Force Base civilian employees who each face 11 furlough days from now until September.
"The not knowing factor of everything in the situation is terrible," said Heather Campbell, RAFB employee.
Campbell is an electronic technician. She's one of at least 15,000 civilian employees who's being furloughed over the next three months.
Campbell's been engaged for two years, but she won't be walking down the aisle anytime soon. A wedding is something she simply cannot afford right now.
"My fiance also works out there on the base, so it's a double cut for us," said Campbell.
The furloughs are part of a 9 year plan to slash $500 billion in the Department of Defense's budget.
David Jones is one of the those affected civilian employees. He's also a union representative for the American Federation of Government Employees, or AFGE. He fears the unpaid time off is just the beginning of a long struggle.
"We can serve 11 days next year, we can serve 11 days for the next nine years," said Jones.
The direct effects of the cuts may already be evident in a community that proudly supports its military. The owner of Emilio's Cuban Café, Gus Maturana, says 85% of his customers come from Robins.
On the first day of furloughs business wasn't booming as usual.
"Some of our customers said they're taking off Monday, some are taking off Friday, so it's kind of slow, so we're kind of nervous," said Maturana.
It's a feeling that's shared by Campbell and Jones, a feeling that their future is uncertain.
"We're talking about 20,000 people on the base that ain't had a pay raise in two years. At what point does it stop? That's my question. You know, when, at what point does it stop?" said Jones.
Jones says as far as the union's been told, all the civilian employees who are under that furlough umbrella will be required to take all 11 days.
During the next few months, Maturana says his business will work as hard as it can to help customers through the tough time, and stay afloat themselves.
"We're with you guys, and we're going to try and help you as much as we can, and we're going to stay here as long as we can, and hopefully get through this with them," said Maturana.